Surging COVID-19 In Delta Worries Okowa, Popstar Okoye Says Virus Real, As Nigeria Records 24,077 Cases

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, one of the big oil and gas states in the Niger Delta, has expressed serious concern about the increasing cases of COVID-19 in the state.

The governor says community transmission of the rampaging virus has reached an alarming and frightening proportion.

Governor Okowa’s concern for his state is coming as Nigeria posted another record of the surging virus on Saturday, with 779 new positive cases.

This is the highest number ever announced by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) within a 24 hour-cycle. The first record was set on May 30 with 673 infections. On June 18, the country reported 745 infections.

Now, it has broken its own record with 779 cases, which automatically takes the national tally to 24,077.

Lagos, the commercial capital of the country recorded 285 cases to lead the surge with a total of 10, 026 cases so far.

Lagos is followed by Rivers, the capital of Nigeria’s oil and gas industry with 68 cases, Abuja 60 cases, Edo, an oil-producing state, 60 cases, Enugu recorded 56, Delta 47, Ebonyi 42, and Oyo 41.

A breakdown of the cases is as follows: Lagos-285, Rivers-68, Abuja-60, Edo-60, Enugu-56, Delta-47, Ebonyi-42, Oyo-41, Kaduna-19, Ogun-18, Ondo-16, Imo-12, Sokoto-11, Borno-nine, Nasarawa-eight, Abia- five, Gombe-five, Kebbi-five, Kano-four, Yobe-three, Ekiti-three, and Osun-two.

In the meantime, Governor Okowa in a statement he personally signed on Saturday, said that it was regrettable that many persons still thought that the coronavirus disease was a hoax.

According to him, if residents don’t take the necessary precautions as listed by the Federal Ministry of Health and the NCDC, the state stands the risk of becoming another epicentre after Lagos.

“It cannot be a hoax when over 20 persons have died including some prominent citizens. Therefore, I want to make a passionate appeal to all Deltans to please realise that the coronavirus disease is real.”

While disclosing that as at Saturday, the number of confirmed cases of the virus in the state was 781, the governor pointed out that on Thursday, the state recorded 106 cases, coming behind Lagos, the epicentre of the pandemic in Nigeria.

The latest figures from the NCDC showed that on Friday, Delta State recorded 66 additional cases. “This brings the total number of infected persons in the State so far to 781. The local governments mostly affected are Oshimili South (181), Warri South (128), Uvwie (112), Oshimili North (79), Ughelli North (74), Ethiope West (41), and Sapele (66)”, Okowa says.

“The State Government allowed normal business activities to go on in essential sectors of the economy to enable citizens take care of their families. It does not in any way suggest that the danger is over. We made this decision with all sense of responsibility while counting on your partnership with the government to defeat this virus. Regrettably, it does appear our people have not taken this matter as seriously as they should.

“Our isolation centres are currently overwhelmed with the number of cases and unless we proactively and collectively take drastic actions to reverse the trend, we stand the risk of becoming another epicentre for the pandemic. In the absence of a specific curative drug, the only way to check the transmission of the virus is for all of us to adhere strictly to the NCDC-issued guidelines and safety protocols, which are as follows:

-Stay at home as much as possible. Only go out if it is essential for you to do so.

-If you must go out, please ensure that you maintain about six feet distance from other persons. This is because the virus is transmitted through droplets – either due to coughing, sneezing, or talking – of an infected person.

-Wear face masks once you are outside your home. This will shield you from droplets from a carrier.

-Avoid crowds and large gatherings as much as possible.

-Wash your hands with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds as often as possible. If this is not readily available, make sure you have a potable alcohol-based hand sanitizer to rub your hands.

-Refrain from touching your face with unwashed hands, especially outside your home.

“My dear Deltans, this is a clarion call to arms. We must brace up and take responsibility for our collective health and safety now.

“It is very worrisome that many of our people still walk the streets without wearing a face mask or even observing physical/social distancing.”

Henceforth, according to Okowa, ‘’banks, supermarkets, malls, stores, salons, and motorists must admit limited persons per time and strictly enforce the physical/social distancing rule.

“In addition to providing hand wash stations/alcohol-based sanitizers, banks, salons, supermarkets, stores, and malls must deny entry to patrons without facemasks. Where there is more than one person, occupants of private vehicles MUST also wear face masks.

“The number of guests at social events – weddings, funerals, traditional marriages – should not exceed 50 with appropriate physical distance set in place. People without face masks MUST be turned back. I also implore our religious houses to implement all the safety protocols as agreed.

“Residents in the most affected local governments – Oshimili South, Warri South, Uvwie, Oshimili North, Ughelli North, Ethiope West, and Sapele – are particularly advised to be on red alert. Let me emphasise once again that the coronavirus disease is real, and anybody can contact it. It is neither a rich man’s nor a poor man’s disease. Anybody can be affected.

“I call on every resident in the State to act responsibly to protect yourself and others, and do not forget to continue praying for God’s merciful intervention to stop this raging pandemic. Together we shall beat this virus.”

Meanwhile, a former P-square group member, Peter Okoye, on Saturday, said he and his family tested positive for the virus.

“It took me a lot of courage to say this”, he said in a live session on his Instagram page.

For weeks “I was in prison in my own house. I was sick. I was COVID-19 positive. It took me a lot of courage to say this. I caught the virus. I used to think this whole virus thing was a joke and I took it for granted.’’

Okoye said his daughter and wife also later tested positive, including his cook and one of his nannies.

The pop star said he and his family have now tested negative after treatment.

“If you think this whole virus is fake or you don’t have anyone that you know, I am telling you now that it is real”, Okoye said.

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